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Number 3. All Good Things Come In Threes

Natalie Ediger, June 21, 2017· Digital Learning

The number three has always been considered a sacred number, the annual and life cycle has been seen as a triad in many cultures, and in fairy tales it is a recurring symbol. Aristotle had also recognized the magic of the three – his rhetorical triangle teaches us the ideal structure of stories, speeches and plays: introduction, middle section conclusion.

As trivial as this may sound, it is the be-all and end-all for successful narratives. Let me explain this with one of my travel anecdotes. The introduction serves to pick up the listener or spectator and put the whole thing into context: Shortly before I started working at Cleverclip as a project manager, my friend and I decided to make a longer trip to Costa Rica. The anticipation was not long in coming and so we immediately started to prepare for the trip.

The middle part serves to build up tension and work towards the punch line: The flights were booked quickly and also the hotel for our first night in San José was reserved. After two months it was finally there, the day of departure. Early in the morning we boarded the train to the airport, took off in Zurich and after a short stopover in Los Angeles we arrived exhausted but happy in San José. Happy, until the moment we noticed why everything was written in English. We were in San José, yes, but in the USA and not in Costa Rica.

After the climax one should smooth the waves again and flatten the plot. So a balance is reached and we can go on to the notorious Happy End: After the first shock and some nerve-wracking phone calls our trip was rebooked. Now it was the west coast USA instead of rain forest in Costa Rica – and the land of unlimited possibilities did not disappoint us.

The beginning and the end of a story are always on the same emotional level. Only the climax of the middle section stands out – and this is how the story triangle is created. We at Cleverclip also stick to this when we tell the stories of complex services or products. We develop the sides of the triangle and thus the storyline together with our customers in a kick-off workshop using pain and painkiller.

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